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Cognitive Abilities in Bilinguals in L1 and L2

  • Andy V. Pham
  • Sara Castro-Olivo
  • Heejung Chun
  • Anisa N. Goforth
Chapter
Part of the The Bilingual Mind and Brain Book Series book series (BMBBS)

Abstract

The proportion of individuals who speak more than one language in the United States has significantly increased. Although there are apparent cultural benefits for children who are bilingual, providing instruction and proper evaluation of bilinguals’ cognitive abilities comes with significant challenges. These challenges are exacerbated by the limited research in this area and the known impact speaking two languages has on individuals’ cognitive abilities. In this chapter, the authors highlight the challenges of conducting cognitive assessments with bilinguals. The authors also propose a culturally and linguistically responsive framework for minimizing bias in the assessment of cognitive abilities of bilinguals. The proposed framework is composed of four steps that encourages practitioners to: (1) assess their client’s behavioral and linguistic acculturation; (2) assess their clients’ verbal language abilities in both languages; (3) determine potential issues with comparing their clients’ cognitive abilities with the normative samples of available tests; and (4) select most appropriate test given the client’s sociocultural/behavioral background, language abilities, and appropriateness of available tests. Implications for clinical practice are also discussed.

Keywords

Bilingualism, L1 and L2 testing Culturally responsive assessment Cognitive assessment Diversity 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy V. Pham
    • 1
  • Sara Castro-Olivo
    • 2
  • Heejung Chun
    • 3
  • Anisa N. Goforth
    • 4
  1. 1.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.New Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA
  4. 4.University of MontanaMissoulaUSA

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